Seventeen-year-old high school volleyball player Claire Crawford’s mom thinks God was looking out for her daughter the day she collapsed and died during a game after suffering a heart attack.
“We know that God created her and He knew about this moment before it happened and He knew who would be here and what the outcome would be and what we would be responsible to do going forward – to share her story,” said Lisa Crawford, Claire’s mom in a video interview posted to YouTube by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Lisa thanks God but she is also thankful that Claire’s school, Logan Christian Academy in Atlanta, Georgia had an automated external defibrillator on hand when her daughter collapsed on Oct. 13, 2015.
A video recording captured by Claire’s father, Eric Crawford, shows her rubbing the left side of her upper chest shortly before collapsing with a thud.
“You could tell she was laboring somewhat, but Claire just has the heart of a champion, and she’s just going to keep playing,” recalled an emotional Julie Sirmans, the dean of the lower school at Loganville Christian who is also a volleyball mom.
“I was sitting at the scorer’s table keeping score for the game, and I just heard a loud thud,” Eric said. “You had a feeling of helplessness.”
Shortly after Claire’s parents began screaming for help however, others at the game immediately sprang into action. And Sirmans reach for the AED.
“She was in v-fib and so the only thing that would be able to bring her heart back into a viable rhythm was to have a shock. The AED was needed in order to bring her back to life,” said Sirmans.
Watching his daughter being revived with the AED after being left so helpless moments earlier filled Claire’s father with happiness.
“It’s complete joy seeing her revived,” said Eric.
The school was prepared for Claire’s heart attack explained Sirmans because as a part of training back in 2006, they got their first AED. There are now four AEDs placed strategically around the school.
“Because of the code blue drills, there were some things that were just instinctual to me. Go grab the AED, bring it back, and get to work,” said Sirmans.
Claire says she feels “blessed” and is “thankful” that her school was so prepared to help her in her moment of need.
“I’m just really thankful and I feel really blessed that this was where I was chosen to go to school at and I’m just really thankful,” she said.
Her family is now helping to spread awareness about the importance of AEDs in schools and she has started a gofundme campaign to help raise money to purchase AEDs for use in other schools and public places.
“On October 13, 2015, I experienced Sudden Cardiac Arrest during a volleyball game. My life was saved by prepared teachers, adults trained in CPR, and the AED machine located at my school. God has given me the desire to share my story in hopes that another life will be saved. Please help me raise money for AEDs to be donated to schools and other public areas. The first one will go back to my school for teams traveling to other schools!” wrote Claire in a message to donors on the gofundme page.
“We wouldn’t let our child participate anywhere in a sport at this point if there wasn’t an AED machine accessible. Waiting until someone is gone is not a good time,” said Lisa.